June 23, 2009

Obama: No really, I'm tough.

Obama defended his forceful reaction to the events in Iran today.

Obama forcefully countered the idea that he's been slow to forcefully respond to Iran's violent crackdown on dissent.

"I don't think that's accurate," Obama said. "Track what I've been saying."

The president said he quickly responded after the election results and after violence broke out in the streets of Tehran, and that the United States has frequently condemned infringements on the freedom of assembly and speech for Iranians.

"We've been entirely consistent," Obama said.

Consistent and forceful are two entirely different things. Consistent, maybe. Consistently forceful? Not a chance. The arguments made on his behalf have been that he's being 'appropriately cautious'. Cautious and forcefully are hardly congruous.

Quickly and forcefully are not the same thing either. It's a comment aimed at deflecting valid criticism by positing a false choice type argument. He's arguing his critics are wrong because he was quick to respond and he's been consistent. Because he's supposedly talking tough now, therefore he was tough out of the gate and has always been tough.

In reality he can claim to be consistent if the word 'muted' is added. His responses by every evaluation - liberal or conservative - have bee low key. Consistently muted makes sense. In that respect he could claim consistency. He shouldn't want to claim to be that though.

He can claim to be fast in responding but his initial response was to continue along the path of engagement. Something he's clearly re-thinking. It also belies the 'consistent' label the President has applied to himself.

Wait and see if the liberal spin switches to "Obama's tough stance" very soon. It will be very telling if the narrative changes and the duration of the public memory on these things doesn't adjust Obama's popularity ratings downward. That would mean that liberals have correctly gauged the public's memory to be very short term politically.

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